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home studio advice

Discussion in 'Recording' started by exumis, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. exumis

    exumis Guest

    hello people,

    i've finally been given the chance to buy and make my own home studio and i'm taking it with both hands. within the next week, i'm going to the bank for a loan with the bills from several music stores and i'll be the happiest guy in the world! but! i'd like your advice on the following products i'm about to purchase and some honest feedback since you don't always know whether the guy behind the desk is telling the truth or is just trying to increase his sales number. so here it is:

    the ones with * are things i already own

    recording studio:
    - Alesis M1ACTIVE620 2-Way Active Monitors
    - Rode K2
    - G5 with logic 7
    - MOTU 828MkII
    - Shure SM58 and 87*

    additional instruments:
    - epiphone les paul standard*
    - podxt live*
    - dunlop crybaby*
    - m-audio oxygen 49*
    - native instruments B4, Absynth, FM7 and Pro53*
    - Hammond XK-1
    - Takamine (not sure which model) with CTP1
    - Roland V-Synth
    - Ibanez SRX700*
    - Boss Distortion*
    - Peavey TNT150 Bass amp*
    - a guitar amp which i still need to pick out :s

    further info: it's a basic bedroom without any acoustic preparations for recording music. but i have absolutely no idea about that, just the tip from a friend that the walls shouldn't be facing each straight.

    are there things i'm forgetting or does this setup look alright to you?

    i also like to make clear this is not just a list of what i'm about to buy just because i like to show it, but i genuinly need advice. it's my life's dream and i'm going to do anything to make it work.

    thanks!
     
  2. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    Well, I wouldn't get an Epi LP. There are better guitars out there for the same price. Alot of people like schecters. I really haven't heard anything bad about them.

    Also, I don't think you really need a PODxt Live. personally, I'd rather record a real amp, so I'd take that $400 or $500, whatever the PODxt live costs, and buy a peavey valveking. Now I have one, and I can say they sound really good for the price. It is really versatile. If you really need effects and want some kind of processor, get a behringer v-amp. You can find them used for pretty cheap. I haven't used the PODxt or V-amp, but i've heard they are pretty similar.


    and I think you might want want a sm-57 or sennheiser (sp?) e609 for electric guitars, snare, toms....




    I think you really should tell us what kind of music you wish to play/record.
     
  3. exumis

    exumis Guest

    thanks for the fast reply!

    i forgot to mention a few things in my original post, so i made some some changes.

    well, i'm actually very happy with the Epiphone and the podxt, even on a bass amp like that, but offcourse it's not the same as on a guitar amp.

    the kind of music that i want to play/record is actually very broad. from ambient and more electronically influenced music to rock/metal influenced to just simple acoustic songs. it can be anything i like, so it's hard to pinpoint an exact style. oh, and it's for my own benefit. the purpose is not a 'public' studio, it's just for my own projects.
     
  4. Scoobie

    Scoobie Active Member

    This is what you said:........and it's for my own benefit? So what comes to my mind is, How about saveing yourself some money and just use a PC and get something like Sonar. It don't sound like you have alot of expereince with a DAW, so Sonar might be to much to get started getting your feet wet.
    Start with something that don't have as much of a learning curve. That way you can enjoy learning to record your own projects. JMO

    Peace.............Scoobie
     
  5. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    Well, if you have it, keep it. I didn't know if you were going to buy it or you already had it. But for guitar amps, The valveking is hard to beat for the price. If you don't want to spend too much on a decently nice guitar amp, try the valveking, classic 30, or fender hotrod series (assuming you want a combo).
     
  6. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    >>the kind of music that i want to play/record is actually very broad. from ambient and more electronically influenced music to rock/metal influenced to just simple acoustic songs. it can be anything i like, so it's hard to pinpoint an exact style. oh, and it's for my own benefit.<<

    Perfect!

    I think the POD-XT live is a GREAT choice for someone like you (not to mention that you can hear 'pod sounds' in countless hits) as it affords you the MOST flexibility with the LEAST cash (and space) outlay. In fact, ck out any of the Line6 guitars, they work excellent with the pod.

    Generally speaking, one can use the budget on a number of mediocre items OR, buy fewer, well chosen, better quality items.

    Because you are in a small space there is no way to get a good variety of real good guitar amp sound, nor do you have choice of 7 different amp heads and 12 different cabs (or microphones) so, the POD is a great choice. If you run it thru a TUBE pre it will sound great.

    Which brings me to the PREs: do you have some GOOD pres? If not, try to get a 2ch TUBE pre. You can use it with you microphones as well as DI for your intrumenst (be it guitars of keys). That would be one of the MUST have items, IMO.
     
  7. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    How much of a loan, at what percent? Generally not the best thing in the world to do that. Especially on relatively generic equipment that likely will never see appreciation value, and a lot of which will lose value. Also, if there is no sure-fire profit to made off this, you are not recouping any of the investment. Even if you buy everything at sale prices, by the time you pay off a long-term loan, all that stuff may actually end up costing you more than each items' list price.

    A better plan may be to keep your list, and acquire things a bit more slowly. Get the thing or two that you may think would be most useful, learn it, pay it off, then go for the next thing. If I put something on a card, I always wait until I have enough cash back to cover it if something happens, maybe pay half in cash, and the other half on the card. I know I can generally pay that off in two to three months at most, and the interest doesn't keep piling up to negate all of the price-savings. I'm also not still paying on something which has lost it's "newness rush".

    If you go out and buy a room full of gear, you are going to want to play around with everything, and that doesn't really give you time to truly evaluate each piece without being distracted by something else. If you haven't played around with something enough by the time the return policy has expired, and then later find out you wish you had gotten something else instead, you're stuck with what you have. Say, you're so busy playing around with all the cool stuff, and when you finally tire of the novelty and really start to listen to that new $500 amp, you find that no matter what you do, that amp doesn't suit your style. Now it's too late to take it back, and the $500 you spent on it (and are probably still paying on with at least an 18% personal bank loan), can't be used to buy something more compatible.

    To buy an entire list of non-appreciating items at once, with a high-interest loan, with possibly no return on the investment, is probably not the wisest course of action. Once you get all that stuff, you're surely going to find that you REALLY NEED some other stuff. But you are still paying through the nose for all the stuff you have. You're either going to have to wait anyway, or go deeper in debt...or worse. Your may also want to revise things on your list as you go. Maybe something better, or the same thing cheaper, is just around the corner.

    Don't get too caught up in the American addiction of having to have "everything I want, and I want it right now!"
    Choose wisely.

    Just something to think about.

    Kapt.Krunch
     
  8. exumis

    exumis Guest

    first of all, thank you so much for this comment, i see that you are genuinly interest in helping me, and i appreciate that enormously.

    about 11000$, at about 10%. i know it's alot of money to be doing this, and as you said, it might not see the appraciation value it maybe deserves. but i must be honest and say that i don't care much about that; i gave up school and got a job (a fine job btw, not just a job to earn money) to grab the chance i always wanted since i started making music. i could be making money with music (and this pricy stuff), or i won't, i don't know. but how money it may be, i want to be sure i do this, without slapping myself in the face later for not taking a shot.
    also, the loan is not final yet, i'm seeing how much i can pay right now with my own money so that the total price of the loan is going to decrease a bit.

    as for the rest; don't worry, i will take it slow with all the instruments and take it one at a time. i'm taking lessons in piano right now, fiddling around and getting to know the native instruments good enough for my needs and within the next weeks, classes in logic are starting again so i'm going to participate in that. i already know how to play guitar, so don't worry there either :)

    i think, and if i'm wrong please correct me, but the equipment i chose isn't quite going to increase in quality and i think you can record quite quality stuff for the next five years or so. as i look around, a lot of my favorite artists still use older software to record their music and it still sounds very good. and they only use that, without expensive studio time.

    i really don't want to sound like a jerk, i really appreciate the help here. thanks!

    oh, and btw, i'm belgian ;)
     
  9. casper

    casper Guest

    Exumus I can appreciate your drive to get started, but I agree with the "Kapt.Krunch", the better plan would be to aquire equipment gradually. This way you can learn as you go along rather than be overwhelmed by the whole process. That said it would be good to start with the core instruments you need first. For example, the guitar, mic,and keyboard. Get comfortable with that first. Then go for the PC and audio interface. Lay some tracks down and see how you like it. Then at that point you will probably have more specific questions like how to improve the sound. Then work from there to buid your dream.

    Sometimes musicians find that the recording takes away from there creativity so they go to the studio to get it done. Some want to record there ideas and create demos and this can be done with a small recording setup. Some want to do both trying to create the music and sound they want. One way or the other only time will tell which way your journey will take you. :D
     
  10. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Exumis,

    Before you take out a loan, follow the link and input some numbers.
    http://www.bankrate.com/gookeyword/auto-loan-calculator.asp

    Input the numbers, and click on "show/recalculate". Then look at the last entry in "Total Interest Paid" in the tables.

    Assuming that a personal bank loan will accumulate interest compounded in much the same way as an auto, I chose the auto loan calculator. You should research their method of compounding interest, and have them print out, and explain, an amortization table before you sign anything.

    I did some of the work for you, assuming your stated $11000 loan at 10%, for 1 to 5 years (assuming they'll grant a 5 year personal loan for musical equipment).

    1 year: $967.07/mo; (TI) total interest $604.90. (TP) Total paid 11000+604.90=$11604.90. ((TI)Total interest shows you've just paid $605 more for your equipment.)

    2 year: $507.59/mo; TI $1182.26; TP 11000+1182.26=$12182.26

    3 year: $354.94/mo; TI $1777.81; TP 11000+1777.81=$12777.81

    4 year: $278.99/mo; TI $2391.44; TP 11000+2391.44=$13391.44

    5 year: $233.72/mo; TI $3023.05; TP 11000+3023.05=$14023.05

    As you can see, even a 1 year loan will cost you over $600 more than the price of the equipment, and you have to pay $967 a month. If the bank will even do a 5 year personal loan on equipment, you may get the payment to a more manageable $233 a month, but it will raise the price of the equipment by over $3000. Do you REALLY want to pay over $200/mo for 5 years, and add $3000 to the price? What else could you buy with that $3000 that went to nothing but interest? Are you going to be happy still paying on stuff that is a few years old a few years down the road, and tying up your buying power?
    Are you getting a good enough deal on that equipment that $600-$3000 is going to be at least equal to retail value, or is it going to end up costing more than list, when all is said and done?

    I just hate seeing someone getting themselves in a bind, and I sense that you may not fully understand the implications of what you plan to do. I am assuming that you are relatively young, since you recently left college. (Bad move, by the way. If music doesn't work out, a college degree will help you more than a roomful of consumer grade music equipment).
    If you are young...what's the hurry? Have you been watching too many videos and listening to too much "pop" music, and believe that the ONLY way to make it big in music is to be young and handsome? Look at how many pretty bands get chewed up and spit out by the music industry. Once they glom onto something slightly different, they try to find near-clones to exploit before the next "big thing" comes around. Most of that stuff has no staying power, and sounds extremely dated in 5-10 years. This is just mass-market tripe force-fed to young people who haven't learned that they are being played for fools just to generate profit for a media conglomerate. They have people believing that just because they are pushing it heavily, and buying mass rotation on the airwaves, then it HAS to be good. If you hear a lie enough times, it becomes true.

    My advice would be to keep working on your style, on your music, and don't get caught up in hype...and don't get in a big hurry. Concentrate on creating truly good music that will be classic one day, and make people want to hear it 20 years from now. As you go along, learn more, expand your tastes and abilities, and most importantly, you should play to make yourself happy before you can expect to make anyone else happy to listen to you.

    Things hastily done will usually have a hasty life-span. You can get lucky and be that one-in-a-million bands that creates that one catchy song on the CD, and become overnight sensations. What about when that is over? Do you have a backlog of ideas? Can you keep evolving to go forward? Can you defy the norm, and be another Green Day? (Those guys amaze me. They started out as an amusing sort with catchy riffs, and evolved into something that I gained a lot of respect for).

    Look, I'm no famous hit-maker. Since I got my audio computer, I have about 3 dozen tunes in various stages of completion sitting around my modest home studio. I have pieced it together over the years when I could afford it. The most I ever put on credit is what I knew I could pay off in 3 month's maximum. And I had the money in back-up to cover that, just in case. And I didn't even do that unless I found a good enough deal that the modest interest paid still made it a relative bargain.
    I am still learning software, and after 30 years of guitar playing...about 10 of those in cover bands...I am still learning guitar.

    I know I'm never going to be "the next big thing" for a record company. I'm too old and homely. But my goal is not to get up in that meat-grinder anyway. I am just amusing myself, and hope to one day put together enough original stuff to gain some appreciation, and amuse people with my slightly twisted and schizoid musical tastes.

    This all took time to put together. And the situation that I put myself in is not as easy as I imagined. It's true when you hear people say that it's hard to be performer, writer, engineer, maintenance, and producer at the same time. Sometimes, just firing up the audio computer, making connections, setting levels and channels, and otherwise getting everything ready to hit the record button drains the life out of the inspiration that I had to turn everything on in the first place.

    Every time I get something new, it takes time to familiarize myself with it. I can't imagine being overwhelmed by an entire roomful of new stuff. Enough attention cannot possibly be paid to each and every item to evaluate it properly, especially if you only have a 14-day to 30-day return policy. I've had only a few regrettable buys. Found at a yard sale or pawn shop really cheap, paid off right away. OK, maybe it will useful down the road, or I can always get somewhere close to what I paid for it on Craigslist, or something. I'd regret it more if I was paying for a year or more on consumer-grade equipment.

    I urge you to think very carefully, and research very carefully, before you run up a big debt for equipment. In the long run, you'll be able to buy more, which may enable you to do more, if you don't have to keep paying on something. I almost guarantee that after a while, it will take a psychological toll, when "buyer's remorse" sets in after the initial high wears off.

    Whatever your decision, I wish you the best. :wink:

    Kapt.Krunch
     
  11. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    I wouldn't advise to buy that much at once as well:

    It basicly has taken me a couple of years to really understand what I need
    Not that I know it all now, but at least I'm able to buy stuff that keeps its value (which is secondhand stuff that's at least a decade old)

    If I we're you I'd buy a decent pc/mac and a okay-ish soundcard (m-audio or some other prosumer brand)
    The soundcard will come with some piece of recording software.
    Learn it
    By the time you understand the difference between user error and bad sound to begin with, you're ready to buy some stuff YOU need.
    Because there really is no way to tell/know what you need.

    So get the bare essentials: soundsources (you've got 'm already), transducers (mics + cables + preamps), recorder (pc/mac+soundcard)
    And start learning

    Have fun :!:

    Cheers

    Oh, and the last thing I'd buy is a softwaresynth in a hardware package (the V-synth f.e.) you can get a notebook+software+controller for less
    and do much more with it.
     
  12. ezride251

    ezride251 Guest

    Exumis, if I were you I might give more consideration to the advice Kapt Krunch and others have offered here. It has been said that experience is the best teacher, and I can find none to refute this claim. In my opinion that is the beauty of these forums.

    There are people here that are full of knowledge about every facet of audio, and freely offer sound advice (ha no pun intended) derived from their own experiences. Partly because they love to talk about it, and partly because they want to nurture a love and appreciation for something that they love...all things audio/music related.

    Their advice to you is predicated on the fact that they want you to succeed and enjoy what you are doing. I fear that should you throw caution to the wind and take out this loan that you will soon regret it. It is way too easy to get in over your head, in more ways than one. Best of luck to you.

    Happy Tracking

    EZ
     
  13. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Man, taking out a loan on anything that depreciates like audio gear does is more than a little risky. The Kapt. (and the others) hit right on it. If you really are into wanting to get a studio going, build it up in stages as you can pay for it WITH CASH as you go along. You can take a portion of your disposable income from your job (you know, the one you quit school for)
    and purchase gear as you can afford to. Avoid the banks like a plague! They are going to try to tell you how to spend your money, how to run the business, and who to vote for in '08. Trust me, I went through hell in the early '80's when I got an SBA loan to start an "advertising agency with a recording studio" (the SBA wouldn't loan $$ for a broadcast or recording studio, per se, this was the work-around). The banker they assigned to me was a number-cruching, bean-counting dickhead of immeasurable proportions. After the ordeal, I swore no more loan officers were going to run my life. Thanks, Ronald Reagan, for letting me learn the hard way!
    BTW, the Hammond you listed is a dawg! I grew up with a Hammond organ. My mother played the Hammond organ. The Suzuki, sir , is no Hammond organ! Look at a NI B4, or a Korg CX-3, or even the Roland.
    IMHO, they ALL kick the Suzuki's butt...
     
  14. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    i would invest in some room treatment. you will love yourself for doing it. aurelex has a "roominator" kit that is great for small bedrooms for $400. and a few bass traps
     
  15. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    Well, since this topic was revisited by an angel of sorts,

    What did you spend the bank roll on exumus?
     

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